Thursday, June 6, 2024

Of female influence & the guiding light

I know I am a gazillion days late for this, and I promise I meant to post this much earlier, but life gets in the way, so I procrastinated until today. But well, every day is Women's Day, is it not? Therefore, Happy International Women's Day! (Literally three months overdue.) You know you are progressing to a more 'woke' generation when more and more people in the world celebrate and acknowledge the importance of International Women's Day. I love that for us.

Every year, I can't stop thinking about how proud I am to be born a woman and how blessed I am to be surrounded by so many, in fact, too many wonderful, strong women. I have a mother who has eight sisters, I myself have three sisters, and I have all of my best girlfriends. You have no idea how much their presence has influenced how I see myself, how I work, talk, walk, present myself, how I think, and the way I love.

Of course, I have to start with my mom, the best woman I have the privilege to call my mom. I am lucky to be able to say that my mom is my best friend. I know a lot of people don't have the privilege of feeling that way about their mothers. The bond I have with my mom is something I thank Allah for every day. She gave me a sense of safety and security, making sure I feel comfortable talking to her about anything without her judging me. I have been yapping at her about my silly crushes since I was 10! What mom would hear that without yelling at you for being so gedik? But never her, though. She never made me feel unsafe telling her the most trivial things. She would always enjoy listening to them.

I think that has also shaped me into the person I am now. It taught me how to listen intently to people and to listen without judgment. To be there when someone else just needs an outlet to vent over the silliest thing. I will be there just like how my mom has always been there for me.

I know my mom did not just magically become like that without the women she grew up with. My aunts are the most supportive people I know. They foster strong family relationships, and they are one of the main reasons why I have a tight relationship with my extended family. From them, I know the importance of putting the right people first and how strong familial relationships can shape you into the most loving, considerate, caring people. While the lack of it will be very jarring. You can see right through.

From the relationship my mom and her sisters have, I learned to have the same with my own sisters. I am blessed to be born into an all-girls sibling group. Every time someone asks me how it's like to have all sisters, I always tell them I love every bit of it. All the clothes we get to share, the debriefs we have, the nights we gather around on a queen-sized bed and gossip the night away. I love all of it. There's no way for me to precisely list what they have taught me. What haven't they taught me, really? I learned everything I could from my three sisters. I knew jealousy, healthy competition, empathy, early friendship, and puppy love too. All through watching them live their own lives and together.

I may never know how it's like to grow up with a brother, but I know too well how to grow up with sisters, and I wouldn't change it for anything. I didn't watch the cartoons you watch when you have a brother. Power Rangers? Nope. Ultraman? Hell nah. Even all the iconic movies people tell me I'm missing out on because I never cared about them growing up. It's funny to compare how different it is, even down to the media you consume if you have only little girls in the household. But it was so lovely. I have built-in best friends for life that I know, no matter what, will always have my back.

This entry has gone on way too long, but I can talk about this on and on because that's how impactful these women are. Of course, it would not be complete without mentioning the ladies who have been in my life for over a decade now. Influencing my girlhood, adolescence, and womanhood. As if my life didn't have enough females, these ladies became the most meaningful addition to my life. Enriching it in ways I can't even begin to explain other than saying that I am absolutely grateful for it. The friendship, trust, reliance, support, and assurance have enriched my life and provided a sense of belonging and empowerment. 

Have I said how lucky I am yet? I just wish I also play a role in someone's life the way the females in my life did for me. And the list of them goes beyond the people mentioned in here. I couldn't possibly fit them all in. All of them have collectively shaped my journey and contributed to my personal growth in more ways than one. They really are the reason I am who I am today. Would not have it any other way.

Sunday, March 3, 2024

Of golden birthday

I made my 27th trip around the Sun on 27th February. That also means I had my Golden Birthday last week. I anticipated the day for the longest time, not because I wanted it to be a grand celebration or anything remotely close to that, but because I knew this day would hold significance for me.

And indeed, it did. I thought a lot about turning 27. It's such a serious age, if you ask me. I've only made a big deal out of a few birthdays since I hit 20. They are:

  • When I turned 20 - for obvious reasons, I graduated from my teenage years.
  • When I turned 23 - I had started working at this point, and I celebrated it with a whole new set of people. It was different, to say the least, but special.
  • When I turned 25 - hitting the quarter-life milestone. It will always be a big deal.

And now, turning 27 is another level of adulthood. How am I 27 already?! It's like you blink, and suddenly you realize that you are responsible for every outcome of your life. Nobody else is answerable for the choices you make. You rely on yourself 99% of the time, and you decide who you want to be.

You don't know how or when everything changed, but when you look back, you realize how far you've come and how much things have changed. That's when you hope you have been making the right moves thus far because it's too late to go back.

Every birthday, I'm always retrospective, so you will hear different versions of the same thing every year. Mostly, it's for me to stay grounded with who I am and the person I want to be. Truthfully, it's just how my brain works. So here's to 27 - the last few years before hitting the big 3-0.

Alhamdulillah for this life :)

Friday, February 2, 2024

Of past self & being vulnerable

You know what's one of the scariest feeling? It's letting people take a peek into your life and your mind, then having no idea what they think of it. 

I feel this on the daily when I look at the views I receive from my blog entries. Especially on my past ones. It's a brave thing having to write down things that are running through your mind as well as your heart's silent whispers for everyone to read; people who know you well, people who don't know you very well, even those who doesn't know you at all. It's like I'm being vulnerable to nobody and everybody, both at the same time.

It's not the judgement that I worry about, it's knowing the fact that these people having access to my past selves, the high school version of me, the sad version, the excited version, the reflective version, the grateful version, the coming of age version, the adult version, but most of all -- the expressive version. 

Every version there is to know about me is in here. Whether or not I have the same opinion on something or stand on the same view as I did many years back, no one can validate and there's no way I can tell them "But that's not who I am anymore". I know I'm the one enabling this. I allowed people in, I decided to write and share because writing makes me feel better, but it doesn't make any of this less scary. 

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Reflecting & goal setting

It's bold to say this but.. 2023 was probably one of the best years of my life. I always fear being 26. I thought..25 was the right age for me. It felt so fitting. I love saying I am 25 years old. Even when I was 24, I was excited to turn 25. It was weird, but it felt so right. Then 26 came.. I didn't know what to feel, what to expect, even what to look forward to. But all I know was that I wanted to make 2023 so fulfilling that whenever I look back, I don't want to regret a single thing. 

I wanted to be carefree but yet careful. Wanted to be free but intentional in every move. I wanted to be open to every opportunities, say YES to anything. Especially new experiences, breaking through my norm and comfort zone without compromising my safety, of course. And that was exactly what I did.

Truthfully, last year was incredibly refreshing. I fostered relationships with some of the best girls I've ever known. If anything were to happen (let's hope not!!), I will always look back on this time with fondness. It's true what people say - you have yet to meet everyone you will love. Who would have thought that at the big age of 25/26, I would be meeting people whom I now cannot imagine not having in my life?

I thought I was set at 23. I believed I had met enough people and experienced enough love. There was no way I would find best friends later in life. What a shallow mindset, contradicting what I always prayed for. I constantly prayed for love, and, true to my prayers, God kept blessing me abundantly with it through the best people—genuine, kind, caring, and supportive. I am truly blessed in this department.

As we enter 2024, my hope remains the same: to stay content with life. Whatever comes my way, be it good or bad, I want to approach it with gratitude. I will continue to pursue opportunities, say YES to anything, and challenge my comfort zone because change and growth only exist in the uncomfortable.

What's your goals? This may be 3 weeks too late but, Happy 2024!

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

My worst year blogging

This is by far the worst I've been at keeping up with this blog. I've only posted three entries this year! This is so few since I started blogging over 10 years ago. To make it worse, one of them was Wordless Wednesday, which technically wasn't my words—just an image. A cheat to make me post more on here.

Though I come out here only infrequently, I will never stop loving writing. Besides this space, I've been writing practically everywhere else: my journal, my note app, my WhatsApp (I sent it to myself)—about anything and everything under the sun. My random thoughts of the day, reflections, or my hopes and fears. Sometimes when I read back on old writings, I cringe at them, but most of them fill me with such nostalgic feelings. That's why I've always loved writing down feelings.

There was one post from back in 2019 that I recently read again. In that entry, I sounded hopeless, as if there was no way out of that situation. It was because I was in it for far too long—five years to be exact. And in my head at the time, I kept asking, 'When will this be over? When can I move on from this?' But patience was all I needed, as my questions were answered just a year after that. In 2020, I was finally free.

Reading that again in 2023, I was laughing-crying. I couldn't believe that 1) I was too young to be feeling that way. 2) God listens, always. You just have to put your trust in Him. 3) I moved forward, then went back to that thing I should have never revisited, and I finally moved on at the right time. 4) I came out from that understanding why the delay was necessary.

Anyways, I went totally off-road with that. My point is—I will continue writing for as long as I can. You'll find me here eventually, though not as frequently as I'd like. Until the next one!

Friday, October 6, 2023

Of life trajectories

I am 26, turning 27. I have plenty of friends that I follow on social media, and I love to see where life takes them. It always leaves me fascinated by how different our life paths unfold.

This is especially true for people I literally grew up with, my school friends whom I've known for more than half of my life. I consider myself lucky to be able to witness all their happy moments and successes. Sometimes I have to stop to take a moment and soak it all in. Reflecting on how we've grown up and now have completely different trajectories from the dreams we once had. Do you do that too?

Throughout my life, people had high hopes that I would become a doctor. At one point, I believed that's what I wanted too. It's easy to let others decide your path, especially when it seems like a great career choice. I excelled in science, so becoming a doctor seemed fitting. So I worked towards that goal, studying hard, as my only aim was to become a doctor.

When med school didn't pan out, I went with biology instead. I didn't mind the change, even though some believed I was settling. It was during this period that I learned to place my trust entirely in God. I realized that while I could plan my life all the way to age 70, God is ultimately the best planner. I knew He would guide my path, even during moments when I felt like a failure or when I was confused or second-guessing my choice.

Now, looking back on my journey after school, I'm neither a doctor nor pursuing a career in biology, yet I'm doing just fine. I have a career I enjoy, and not once do I regret the choices I’ve made. If I could talk to my sixteen-year-old self, she'd probably freak out. Back then, I was too focused on one goal and forgot that it was merely a dream of mine. Whether or not it became a reality was ultimately up to Him, not me.

Then there was the whole marriage thing. I used to think 25 was the magic number. I mean, my mom tied the knot at 24, and my oldest sister at 23. So aiming for 25 felt right. Is it not? But once again, God had a different timeline in mind.

I know all of you at some point in your life have experienced this too. Do you resent it, or embrace it? At times I wonder how my life would be if I made a different choice, if I chose a different career, if I did end up going to med school. Where would I be now?

Now, I'm starting to get why He kept shifting my plans. He threw some curveballs, changed up the route time after time. I’ve stopped feeling sad or questioning these changes. I know they are all for good reasons, and all I need to do is put my trust in Him. Everything will eventually fall into place.

I would be lying if I said I feel nothing seeing my friends have exactly what they wanted since they were young. A career they wanted at 16? Got it. Found their forever person and built their own little family. While I am genuinely happy for them, I can’t help but wonder, “What will my life trajectory be like?”.

Friday, April 21, 2023

Let's talk faith

I don’t talk about faith as much anymore, not here nor with my friends. The only people I’m comfortable talking about faith with are my sisters. We have the same journey and usually share the same struggles, so it’s always easy finding solace in them.

Every Ramadan, I reflect on my faith. It's true when they say that Ramadan is the month of repentance, reflection, and resetting. Whether it's about forming good habits like waking up early, planning the day, eating healthier, or for the sake of complete faith in the deen.

That's why Ramadan will always hold a special place in my heart. It feels like a fraud to say that I have more time in Ramadan to focus on the deen because, let's be real, you always have time. You just need to make time. And it's more convenient in Ramadan, to put it simply.

Ramadan is also special to me because in this month, 12 years ago, I decided it was time to wear hijab. It was honestly an easy decision to make. I was young (only 14 at the time), innocent, and probably a little naive, but I always knew it would be the best decision I would ever make.

Since then, faith has become a part of me that I will always take care of. I’m not convinced that I found my hidayah early, as cliche as it sounds, but I think I’ve started to look at faith differently. I started to understand, be interested in, and was a lot more willing to learn.

I’ve had my phases; some days I feel closer, other days I’m far gone. But I take inspiration from people around me, how they look at life, and how they always try, even with the smallest effort. It gives me comfort knowing that everyone else is just like me; we’re all trying in our way, fighting our own demons.

To everyone who’s reading, trying, fighting, contemplating, wondering, or questioning their faith — I pray that you’ll find your answer soon and that God gives you the peace you've been looking for.

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Call it what you want

The urge to write lengthy entries has stopped for a while now even though in my mind I always have something to say. I don't have the energy to spend time and write something that is appropriate for others to read when I know, my way of coping is by writing. I have been writing though, just not here. 

You can call this an update, or a goodbye because I think....I'm gonna stop writing here for now. Lately (or the past year or so) I always, for some reason. I know too well that me writing things here are for people to read anyways, but some part of me now are not Okay with that fact.

Plus I'm struggling with navigating life so I'm just...taking it day by day. Don't get me wrong, life isn't bad at all but I have also seen better days. If you are experiencing the same thing, these are the things I do to help, might work for you too. 

1) Keep a journal. I write, not daily though, but whenever I can & especially when my mind have too many running thoughts. I just dump everything in there. 

2) I write myself letters. Monthly. Well, this is much related to (1) but instead of writing it as & when I need, I also write to myself at the end of each month. It's more of a summary of that month, of what happened that month & how I felt. I just wanted to reflect & make sure future Tya knows she made it through. 

3) I read. I try to read a lot more. Mostly fiction though because reading really helped me escape whatever it is that I'm feeling & focus on the storyline instead. It has been great but I try not to be too dependent on fictional stories. Hahaha

4) Allowing myself to feel sad, frustrated, mad but just for a night or a day. To feel negative feelings is normal & human. Cry if you need to, even if you're a man and you have that stupid ego.

That's all. I hope you feel better soon, I know I will. 

Sunday, March 6, 2022

Random, very random #4

 "I just wonder in 5 years when you look back, would you laugh at the memory of this, or would you regret wasting your time? It has been 2 years, Tya."

I don't think I was offended by what my best friend told me, but I caught myself pondering to that statement a few times, thinking, really thinking of how I will reflect back to this time, 5 years down the road. Will I find all of these silly, or will I regret?

Thursday, January 6, 2022

It's the New Year, again

Hello and a very Happy New Year! I skipped the whole month of December for no reason at all when I actually had a lot of things to share. I keep wanting to write but procrastinate until I don't feel like sharing

It's the 6th of January, and I hope all of you had a very good start to the year & already though of what are the things you want to achieve in the year of 2022. That's important. My year began really great. I attended my best friend's wedding. She's the first among all of us to get married and I couldn't tell you how happy I am for her. She deserve all that happiness. 

I am still on leave, which is the second best thing of this week, haha 😆 I needed this break more than anything after working non stop even on weekends for the past 4 - 5 months. It was brutal and I was truly exhausted. I took this first week of January (& the last week of Dec 2021) to really take a break and unwind. Last week I went out, did some errands, met friends and this week I have been doing a lot of domestic stuff. I rearranged my room, did multiple loads of laundry. Wash > hang > fold & repeat. Honestly I do not know where all those clothes came from. 

I am a homebody at best. I like doing nothing when I'm not working or even during weekends. so I'm using this week to fully take the rest I needed. One thing about being on long leave is that, you'll get to a point where you're ready to work again and by next Monday, I'll be mentally ready to work and be productive. 

At the beginning of last year, I stated 5 things I wanted to achieve in 2021. Among all 5 things, I completed 3 of them. Which honestly, pretty damn good. The other 2 things I didn't do was 1) Travel abroad (COVID doesn't let me) and 2) I want to know how to cook which to be fair, I think I know how to cook if you put me on the spot, lol. Ok I'm just making excuses but I can cook basic stuff. If you ask me kuah masak lemak cili api then yeah, I'll pass.

So for this year, I also have a list of things I want to achieve but instead of 5, I only have 4 of which I decided not to share what those things are. I'm actually really excited for 2022 and really look forward to what the future has in store for me & everyone. I have another best friend's wedding coming up this year and that will definitely be one of the highlights. I'm optimistic as usual and I hope this year will be a golden year of all of you too :)

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